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Old 09-09-2010, 10:05 PM   #3
MichaelW
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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The actual planning for this trip began about a year ago, although the desire had been burning for a lifetime. Growing up I had two mentors when it came to hunting and the outdoors. One was my Uncle Wilbur and the other was a gentleman from the church always known to me as "Brother Stork". Each one recognized my desire for the outdoors and fueled the fire by taking me hunting as well as giving me tons of magazines and books to read. I can remember as a young kid getting my hands on every one of my uncle's Outdoor Life magazines. I always took great delight when a feature on Africa was done, hanging on to every word of the story and soaking up each picture of this far away place . I remember flipping through black and white print pages of the books given to me by Brother Stork, slowly reading every line and imagining the actual colors of each of the many animals presented in the black and white printed photos. As time progressed, I vowed to myself that one day I would visit this beautiful place with a seemingly endless array of mysterious and exotic looking animals.

Fast forward to present day and this desire only grew stronger to the point of bursting with each hunting television program, internet story, magazine article, and first hand conversation on bow hunting in Africa. Finally, the time was right and a trip would be planned. With the availability of resources at one's fingertips in today's times, researching and planning for this trip was enjoyable. After much research, which consisted of online stories, magazine articles, first hand conversations, hunting videos, etc., I decided to hunt with Dries Visser Safaris in South Africa.

Discussions with Dries began about a year ago and I can't count the number of subsequent emails we had since the beginning. The pre hunt communication we had was unbelievable and very comforting for a first timer to Africa. Every single small trivial question I asked over the year was answered. This hunt began as a plains game but eventually talks evolved into adding a lioness. Lion hunting in South Africa has come under intense scrutiny in recent years with very much of it being definitely deserved. I talked to Dries about this and he explained to me that as in everything, there are good and bad hunts. Unfortunately, the poor practices by some can cast a bad light on all. I expressed to him my interest in hunting such a beautiful and magnificent animal, but only if done under a sporting method. The idea of hunting lion with a bow has always interested me, but unfortunately, lion hunting in the most distant, remote and wildest of places in Africa has always seemed and will probably always be out of my financial reach.

Over subsequent conversations with Dries we discussed a respectable lion hunting operation in South Africa and a permit was secured. Dries told me about a concession available that is comprised of 46 thousand acres with the lion hunting taking place on about 10 thousand acres. The property was located about 6-7 hours west of Johannesburg a few minutes from the border of Botswana. This area is known as the Kalahari region. It is a very sandy desert type region. We would begin the 10 day hunt here and then drive the roughly 6-7 hours back to the Limpopo province area to conclude the hunting with plains game.

The route from my home to Africa seemed to consist of many legs. The first leg was the drive from Corpus to Houston on Saturday afternoon. I stayed overnight at my mom's house and got up early for a departing flight from Houston Hobby at 8:10 AM. This flight arrived in Washington Dulles at 1:50 pm. From there, the flight was suppose to depart at 5:40 PM, but after close to a two hour holdup on the runway, it was finally off for the 18 hour flight to Johannesburg which included one technical stop in Dakar.
After the long flight, I couldn't believe I had finally made it once the plane touched down. Prior to the flight, I had convinced myself that the 18 hour flight would be the single most worst thing ever experienced in my life...all in all, it really wasn't quite that bad. Luckily several movies along the way helped. I tried to sleep a little, but just couldn't. In total, I dozed for two hours or less.

After signing for each of my two bows secured safely in their respective SKB bow cases, I was on my way out of the airport. At the front entrance, I met up with the representative from the Afton Guest house and after waiting for the other hunters to retrieve their firearms from the police station, we were finally off.
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